St Michael's players who have
also played for Northamptonshire
Thomas Beale was a local shoe
manufacturer and freemason and was said to have been the first English googly
bowler, though this is hard to substantiate either way. He played in the first
game to be held at the County Ground on 14 May 1885 for Northamptonshire Club
& Ground against Surrey, opening the batting with the Rev F W Kingston.
Not much is known about his
career with St Michael’s, but what is apparent is that he was one of the best
cricketers in Northampton at the end of the nineteenth century. He also played
for Alma and Enigmas. In 1888 for Enigmas, he averaged 54.3 with the bat and got
26 wickets @ 3.1 with the ball. That included best figures of 7-67 in 67 balls
as a side called Parsees were skittled out for only 25 runs.
Lancelot Driffield was born in
1880 at Old in Northamptonshire. He was educated at St John’s School,
Leatherhead, and in his last year he scored 910 runs and took 97 wickets. He
then went to Cambridge University. In 1900 he took an amazing 7-7 with his slow
left arm against the MCC at Fenners, and was awarded his Blue in 1902. He also
scored 109 against the MCC, though it is unclear if this was in the same match.
He then came to
Northamptonshire, and is generally regarded as the first ever left arm bowler to
represent the county. He played for Northants when first class status was gained
in 1905 and played his last match in 1908. In 1907, he had the ignominy being
bowled for a duck as the County were skittled out for 12 against Gloucestershire,
to this day still their lowest first class score.
In 40 matches, he batted 67
times, scoring 603 runs, scoring 2 fifties with a highest score of 52 with an
average of 11.38. Bowling wise, he took 108 wickets at an average of 25.2 with
best figures of 7-78. He had five 5-wicket innings, one 10-wicket match and held
After leaving Northamptonshire,
he continued to play for the MCC. He went on to become a master at his old
school, but died prematurely in 1917 aged 37.
James Tomlin Pool
Charles Pool was born in
Northampton in 1876 and was taught the game of cricket by his mother, who
was a keen sportswoman. He made his first appearances in local league
cricket when just 13 years old. He then made his debut for
Northamptonshire whilst still at Northampton Grammar School aged 17 in the
last fixture of the 1893 season against Buckinghamshire at High Wycombe.
In 1895, he scored 157
against the MCC, and topped the County’s batting with an average of 44.
A year later, he scored 144 against Durham at South Shields as the County
racked up 517-8, a new record. Other St Michael’s players also starred
that day, with Billy Kingston scoring 97 and Lancelot Driffield scoring a
half-century. In 1905, he had the honour of scoring Northamptonshire’s
first century as a first class side when he made 110 against Hampshire.
This went alongside his record of having scored the county’s first ever
century in the Second Class Counties competition.
He was a stylish
cricketer, and also looked the part. His handlebar moustache, cravat and
boater all conveyed the appearance of a true Edwardian gentleman. On the
field of play, one reporter of the time wrote ‘There is no more
delightful sight to our cricket loving crowds here in Northampton than
watching the slim and athletic form of Mr CJT Pool at the wickets,
gathering runs as easy as blackberries.’ He played cricket in a
stylish and effortless manner. Tall, graceful and upstanding as a batsman,
he blended a strong defence, a slashing off-drive, a crisp cut and even
stronger leg side strokes in a free and easy style that made run-getting
look easy. When he was in form there was no better way of spending an
afternoon than watching him bat.
go with his dashing good looks, he also had an eye for the ladies, though
he never married. Once when playing for Northants in their minor county
days, Pool asked the captain, a man called Horton, whether he could stay
with his aunt for an away fixture. It was of course a means to stay the
night at the home of his latest girlfriend. Pool promised to catch the
first train to the ground on the morning of the match, and so Horton
Come the match itself,
Northants lost the toss and were asked to field first. Pool arrived late
at the ground after a mad dash in a horse drawn cab. He rushed in to the
pavilion, changed, took the field and offered his apologies to the
captain. Horton turned around and calmly said to an out of puff Pool, 'Oh,
that's all right, Charlie. You’ve not been picked for this game!'
He played briefly for
Little Lever in the Bolton League, and was offered a job in a local
building society as an incentive to make the move permanent. Instead he
moved to Australia for health reasons. Whist there, he declined the chance
to turn out for England under the captaincy of Lancashire’s Archie
MacLaren against a local up-country side.
to England in time to play in Northamptonshire’s debut season as a first
class side in 1905. He starred with the bat, with a top score of 91 in a
defeat to Sussex at Hove. In that season, he scored 664 runs at an average
of 36, and was far away the best County’s best batsman.
The following year, he
played what was probably his greatest innings for the County. Following on
against Worcestershire at New Road with a deficit of 165 and staring
defeat in the face, Pool hit 25 fours in an innings of 166 runs in 3
hours, his highest ever score for the County. This left the home side a
victory target of 254. Aided by George Thompson’s bowling,
Worcestershire finished short at 212 all out. Northamptonshire had to wait
until 1988 to win their next match having followed on.
Pool often deputised a
captain, and was in charge when Northamptonshire beat both Lancashire and
Yorkshire for the first time. His first game in charge came in 1907, when
he was the side’s leading scorer with 708 runs at an average of 22.
1908 saw him slip to
third top scorer, but he still amassed an impressive 733 runs in the
season. He opened the innings with Billy Kingston, who himself topped the
scoring charts with 989 runs. The following year, Pool again was in the
runs, scoring 811 to be the second highest scorer.
In 94 first class
matches, Charles Pool batted 177 times, scored 4,350 runs at an average of
25.44. He scored 4 hundreds and 20 fifties. He also bowled occasionally,
picking up 5 wickets, with a best of 4-53. In the field, he had a safe
pair of hands, holding on to 51 catches.
He retired from first
class cricket in 1910, but kept involved in the game by becoming
Northamptonshire’s youth coach. However he wasn’t impressed by what he
saw at training. He wrote ‘The ground staff come up, mess about, play
among themselves, and bowl at any members that may happen to be on the
ground.’ His views must have struck a chord with the Committee at
the time as in 1911 he was promoted to the position of chief coach. He was
also a licensee and ran the County Hotel, today known as the County
Tavern, right by the County Ground on Abington Avenue. He also found time
to play hockey to a high standard, captaining Northamptonshire in the
Pool continued to play
local club cricket well into his fifties, and as well as St Michael’s,
he also played for Clarence and Mostyn. He also played for the MCC,
scoring three centuries in 1925.
He went to live in North
Wales where he bred Great Danes and relaxed by fishing and shooting. He
later went to live in Sussex, where he continued to play club cricket
Charles Pool died in 1954
in Epsom, Surrey. To commemorate his achievements for Northamptonshire, a
bequest from his brother led to the erection of ‘The Pool Gates’
at the Wantage Road entrance to the County Ground in 1959.
Billy Kingston was born
in Northampton in 1874 and made his debut for Northamptonshire at the Oval
in 1894 against Surrey 2nd XI. He batted that game at number
six, but after a string of good performances, moved up the order and
stayed there for most of his career. He had to wait until 1898 to record
his first century, scoring 149 against Berkshire. In the same match, he
was also ‘responsible’ for the dismissal of his batting partner
Tom Brown. An appeal for a catch was turned down by both umpires as they
both claimed to be unsighted. When Billy was asked for his opinion, he
said that Brown had touched the ball, and so he was given out.
still a second-class county, Billy scored runs consistently. In 1904
against Staffordshire at Stoke-on-Trent, he scored 102 against the home
attack lead by the great S F Barnes. Two days later at The Oval, he opened
the innings for the Gentlemen against the players. In the first innings he
was out for 5. He didn’t get another go as the Gentlemen won by an
finally became a first class county in 1905, their first game was against
Hampshire. The honour of facing the first ball went to George Thompson,
with Billy the non-striker. He averaged only 19 in that season, and it was
not until 1908 that he hit his best form, scoring 989 runs. He played his
final game in 1909, whereupon he continued his profession as a sports
In 77 first class
matches, he batted 140 times, scoring 2,594 runs at an average of 18.8
with 2 fifties and a top score of 83. Bowling wise, he claimed just the 2
wickets but held 44 catches in the field. He died in his home town in
Played 13 matches for
county between 1905-1906
Batting - 25 innings, 4
NO, 335 runs, highest 68, average 15.95, 1 fifty
Bowling - 6 wickets,
average 41.00, best 2-8, 7 catches.
Sid Cox was a member of
the first St Michael’s side to win the Northampton Town League in 1932.
That same season he also played 6 games for Northamptonshire.
Despite being by far and
a way the best bat in the St Michael’s side, he struggled somewhat at
County level. In 11 innings, he could only muster 89 runs at 8.9 with a
top score of 25. He also took 1 wicket and held 2 catches.
Sid continued to play for
St Michael's for many years thereafter. During the 1960 season, Sid and
his son Ian recorded the club batting partnership with a second wicket
stand of 208 against County Hall.
Ian Phillips was the last
St Michael’s player to represent Northamptonshire. Part of the
successful St Michael’s side of the 1930s, he made his County debut
against Leicestershire in 1938, and played a total of
6 games for Northants. In his 12 innings, he scored 88 runs at an average
of 9.78 with a highest score of 22. He also held 3 catches.
He also played for
Brighton College, topping the averages in 1938 and 1938, latterly as
captain. His son Chris also played for St Michael’s.